The family of the British schoolgirl now favourite to win America’s Got Talent and its $1million prize have spoken of their pride ahead of tonight’s final.
Courtney Hadwin, 14, from Hesleden, in County Durham, will also get a lucrative Las Vegas residency if US fans vote for her to win.
The singer stunned audiences with her rendition of Tina Turner’s River Deep – Mountain High last night in the first part of the two-night final and Judge Howie Mandel told her she is a ‘superstar in the making’.
Courtney, who goes to school in Peterlee, is with her father Paul in Los Angeles while her mother Annmarie is at home looking after her two younger siblings.
Her proud mother said ahead of the final: ‘She’s done amazing – I’m really so proud of her. To me it doesn’t matter where she comes – to make it to the final and perform there is fantastic’.
Courtney earned a standing ovation from judge Simon Cowell for her semi-final performance of Born to be Wild (above) last week
Judges were wowed by her first audition, which saw comedian Howie Mandel (front) give her the golden buzzer to take her through to the live finals
She told the Hartlepool Mail: ‘We never expected her to get a golden buzzer and then we never expected her to get through the quarter-finals or the semi-finals. She’s done so well.
Courtney, 14, has revealed that she is ‘shocked’ that she has made it to the final, despite her enormous success
‘It’s amazing really she’s had loads of messages of support from the community and the school have been brilliant.’
Mother and daughter speak every day when Courtney is getting up and Annmarie is going to bed – but she is sure to stay up see if her daughter is crowned season 13 champion at around 1am on Thursday morning.
The teenager has previously admitted she had been bullied at school last year over her performance on the child’s of The Voice last year, where she failed to make the grade.
Speaking to the Mirror ahead of tonight’s final, she said: ‘I’m shocked that I have gotten this far. I don’t really think The Voice Kids prepared me for how big AGT is – it’s huge.
‘I’m more excited than nervous at this stage, since its the final and, honestly, to even be here is more than I could have ever hoped for.’
Asked what she would do with the winnings, Courtney added: ‘I’d probably just spoil my dog Teddy and put the rest into my music and hopefully some original songs. I definitely want to start working on my own music.’
British schoolgirl Courtney Hadwin, 14, from Hesleden, in County Durham, is now favourite to win America’s Got Talent. She became an overnight sensation following her show-stopping performance of Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle in June (pictured on AGT)
Simon (pictured giving the teenager a standing ovation during the semi-final) described her as a ‘bundle of excitement’
Courtney previously took part in the UK’s The Voice Kids aged 12, where she made it to the finals under the guidance of McFly’s Danny Jones.
But she had no where near the impact in Britain that she has enjoyed in America – and had been making pocket money from busking.
Her grandfather Tom Storey, 60, from Inverness, said she had decided to enter the American version of Britain’s Got Talent because the ‘UK doesn’t get he
He told MailOnline earlier this year: ‘We always believed she would do well in the USA. We knew they would get it in a way that the UK didn’t.
‘We believed in her and knew that she would go down a storm over there.
‘I am so proud of her. I wanted to tell everybody about the US audition but we were sworn to secrecy.
‘My partner, Aileen, and I were told we would be disowned if we breathed a word. It was hard to keep the secret. I was bursting with pride and wanted the world to know. They know now alright.’
Appearing on Lorraine in August (above), Courtney described how she has been ‘practising every day’ for America’s Got Talent live shows
Courtney’s father Paul (pictured with her on Lorraine) said the family had been overwhelmed with all the support they received
She is predicted to take home the $1million (£750,000) prize money in the final of the US talent show next week and favourite with the bookies.
The teenager – who has been compared to Janis Joplin and Tina Turner – earned a standing ovation from Judge Simon Cowell for her performance.
He said: ‘You’re a bundle of excitement and it’s raw and messy. I saw you at the beginning of the show, shaking like a leaf and then you come out on stage and turn into a maniac.
‘That’s why I absolutely love you.’
Cowell’s fellow judge, Howie Mandel, also gave Courtney a standing ovation and predicted she will win the show.
He said: ‘You were born to be wild! This was wild! You were amazing. My prediction is you’re going to be the winner.’
Courtney appeared emotional when she was told she was through and thanked her father, Paul, who was waiting backstage.
She later Tweeted: ‘Wow I want to thank every single person that voted for me I’m so grateful tonight and in shock thank you guys for believing in me.’
Courtney, from Hesleden, County Durham, became an internet sensation after delivering a powerful performance of Otis Redding’s Hard to Handle during her audition.
Courtney was just 12 years old when she appeared on ITV children’s talent show The Voice Kids in 2017 (above)
The teenager had bunked off school to fly to Los Angeles for the show’s auditions in March, telling friends she had a stomach bug.
Courtney paid for her singing lessons by busking on British streets, using the money she raised to contribute to her father Paul’s petrol costs as he drove her to gigs and busking patches in London, York and the North East.
The singer lives in a small, semi-detached house with her dad Paul, a delivery driver, stay-at-home mum Annmarie and her siblings, Paul, nine, and Melissa, seven.
Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine in August, Courtney revealed how she’s been practising ‘every day’ to be ready to perform in front of millions on American TV.
‘I’ve been practising every day and going running for my energy levels,’ she said.
The schoolgirl also revealed she was thrilled after Paloma Faith had shared a video of her initial audition, as she counts the London-born singer as one of her idols.
A beaming Courtney told Christine Lampard: ‘Paloma Faith tweeted me! She really liked me.’
Her father Paul, who was also appeared on Lorraine, said the family had been overwhelmed by the support they have received since the audition aired.
He revealed: ‘It’s just been amazing. The support she’s had afterwards. We knew it was going to be big over there but we didn’t expect it to hit over here the way it has.’
Courtney’s quiet nature was apparent when she stepped on stage to audition in the packed auditorium during a trip to Los Angeles earlier this year.
She was reassured by judge and former Spice Girl Mel B, who said: ‘I know this is a big stage with lots of people here but you’re here for a reason so go for it and good luck.’